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How ergonomically healthy is your workstation? In a poll on our Web site, the most commonly clicked response to that question is, “I’m turning into a hunchback with carpal tunnel.”

For too many of us, office ergonomics have been, at best, an afterthought. But this issue is rapidly gaining attention on the public policy front–what with OSHA’s new ergonomic rules www.osha-slc.gov/ ergonomics-standard/index.html for workplaces and doctors’ concerns that children may be developing computer overuse symptoms www.nytimes.com/2001/ 01/04/technology/04ERGO.html. So what better time than now to review your ergonomic savvy? And, ironically, what faster way to do it than by surfing at your computer?

Two Web sites that provide particularly thorough, well-organized, and timely ergonomics information are Ergoweb www.ergoweb.com and the University of California-Los Angeles http://ergonomics.ucla.edu/Default.htm. If you need a quick overview or refresher on good office ergonomics, visit the UCLA site first.

There you can quickly read up on practical how-tos under such headings as “25 Ergonomic Tips for Computer Users,” “Workstation Myths,” and “Computer Workstation Setups.” If you’re looking for more depth on the subject, Ergoweb is the place to go. Ergoweb will immerse you in the latest news, policies, training procedures and products for employees and employers, but it is so well organized that you’ll never feel overwhelmed.

Some stuff this site has that is seldom seen elsewhere: ergonomics training, monitoring, and troubleshooting software; case studies; a discussion Listserv; and a history of ergonomics. You’ll also want to peruse the FAQ, glossary, and ergonomics concepts in the “Introduction to Ergonomics” section. Rather than treating ergonomics as a theoretical problem, as many sites do, Ergoweb presents ergonomics as a way of life. Without question, this is the No. 1 ergonomics resource for workers and administrators alike.

Virtual do-gooder

Does charity really begin at home? You might argue that today, it begins on the Web. Sites like The Hunger Site, where you can click on “donate food” and other resource buttons, have been an ingenious way to do some good at lightning speed. But the real strength of the World Wide Web is in making it easier for us to actually get off our duffs.

Addled by the number of charities out there? Not sure which ones really merit your time or money? Need to know which ones are close to where you live? Check out Beliefnet’s charity section www.beliefnet.com/index/index_2000.html, a well-organized, one-stop portal for any charity link you’d need. To find out which charities meet reputability standards and which don’t, click on the Charity Watchdogs link (center column) and choose from six different organizations, including the Better Business Bureau and the National Charities Information Bureau. To find out where and how you might sign up with an organization, click on the Matchmakers link for a list of 10 different sites. Match yourself to a charity by ZIP code, interest, availability, or country. Or, of course, choose to volunteer completely “virtually.” This is only the beginning of Beliefnet’s resources. This site also has information on socially conscious investing, discussion links, and articles you won’t typically find in the daily news, dealing with different faiths’ views on charity and the ethics of giving.

Nerdly fun

Any site that I can find by typing the words “nerdly fun” into Google is a winner in my book. Check out this section of Nerds for Hire Inc. http://www.empathy.com/nerdwhat.html to see whether you pass the hacker, geek, and nerd tests. According to this site, I’m not a geek. I’m not sure whether to feel relieved or chagrined. You geeks out there, please tell me what I’m missing.

Do write, won’t you?

This is your column, too. We thrive on suggestions of off-the-beaten-path sites, so don’t be bashful. Got a Web site that deserves some attention? E-mail [email protected]

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